September Summary

For the Walkabout Crew, September often represents our favourite time of the year – new vintages have been bottled and a significant proportion start being released for tasting and purchase, the vines are starting to show new growth and the weather has warmed up so winery cellar doors start to offer longer opening hours (some cellar doors are closed over winter).

As with other months of the year, we have learned a lot about wine growers, wine makers and (most importantly perhaps) wine salespeople and over the course of some lively meet-and-evaluate evenings, we have come to a few conclusions, some of which can be shared here:

1. There is a spectrum of cellar door staff knowledge and it can be quite obvious to an experienced taster. Having visited a huge number of wineries this month and tasted hundreds of wines, we have quickly come to realise (and discuss at some length) the different types of staff. Some seem to be reading from a script (or have memorised the tasting notes and are repeating them as though it were a play) whereas others are quite a lot more nimble and will follow the discussion wherever one of us leads it.

2. Most wineries now seem to have a “wine club” as well as a mailing list. We will be posting about this in more detail soon, as some wine clubs we have discovered are really worth joining and others don’t seem to be of much benefit to the consumer (us). Although the terms differ between wineries, most of the time it is a buy X dozen per year to receive Y percentage discount on all wine arrangement where Y can vary from 10 to 30 and X is between 0 and 4 for most places we have found. We have been very busy collecting lots of information on this and will be awarding our best value wine club (or clubs) before the end of the year…

3. While winemakers search for the next big thing, the classics are also worth revisiting. Tasmania is known as the home of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in particular, and it makes excellent wines from these grapes. A lot of Pinot Gris/Grigio is being planted at the moment (there are quite a few established vines as well) and some other interesting varieties such as Temperanillo and Arneis are starting to be seen. While some of these are going to be great, there will undoubtedly be another big thing before too long. All this time, Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon growers are producing some truly fantastic wine which seems to fly under the radar a bit. If you are a fan of either of these varieties, Tasmanian wine might be worth revisiting.

4. Some of our favourites are becoming too expensive. This requires no explanation really, to those who have watched certain labels more than double in price in the last decade. The Australian wine export market is huge, we understand that, and supply vs demand for quality wine inevitably drives up the prices, which brings us to…

5. We need to keep discovering new favourites. The reason the Walkabout Crew started this project was to find wines that we never knew existed and never knew how much we liked. Along the way we have found some amazing new favourites, but no doubt they too will soon be discovered and the prices will rise to the point we need to move on as well. Our adventures are thus set to continue for a while yet…

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